Mercedes-Benz is poised to enter yet another market with the all-new GL-Class, a seven-seat luxury sport-utility vehicle that will be produced in the company’s Alabama plant along with the M-Class and R-Class. Already offering the broadest and most diverse product portfolio in the automotive industry, Mercedes-Benz is launching its first large sport-utility. The new GL-Class will make its Canadian premiere at the upcoming Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, open to the public February 17-26, 2006.
It’s no coincidence that the new GL model designation echoes the already legendary Mercedes-Benz G-Class. While the GL-Class is built on an entirely new platform, the venerable G-Class sport-utility is entering its 26th year of production and will continue to be marketed beside the new GL.
Mercedes-Benz Safety in a Premium SUV
The graceful body of the new GL-Class will be 5,088 mm in length, 1,920 mm wide and
1,840 mm tall, boasting an aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.37. Its steel unit body will provide outstanding passive safety with a high-strength occupant cell protected by technologically advanced front and rear crumple zones that include new provisions to help reduce potential injuries to pedestrians and cyclists. The GL will come with two-stage front air bags for the driver and front passenger, side air bags in the front and 2nd-row seats, and curtain air bags that span all three rows of seats.
The new GL-Class will debut in the Canadian market with a 4.6-litre four-valve-per-cylinder V8 engine producing 335-horsepower, 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission and 4MATIC™
The GL will come with four-wheel independent suspension, speed-sensitive power steering and 18-inch 265 / 60 all-season tires. The vehicle has a 7,500 lb. (3,402 kg) Class V towing capacity and is available with optional height-adjustable Airmatic springing with ADS adaptive damping.
Inside, the GL will be fitted with real burl walnut wood trim, power front seats and a glass sunroof with a fixed glass panel over the third-row seats. The two third-row seats can be stowed electrically at the push of a button, either separately or together, to provide a totally flat cargo floor. As a five-seater, the GL can carry 1,240 litres of cargo, and with the second row seats stowed as well, there’s more than 2,300 litres of cargo room.
In addition to the widely acclaimed Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC system, standard features such as DSR downhill speed regulation, hill-start assist, and a special off-road ABS algorithm will help drivers during off-road excursions. An optional Off-Road package will include a two-speed transfer case and locks for the centre and rear differentials. The package also includes modified air suspension that can increase ground clearance to a maximum of 30.7 cm, which also raises its low-speed fording depth to 60 cm.
The Mercedes-Benz Alabama Plant
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama began production in 1997 with the first-generation M-Class, and about $600 million has been invested since 2001 to expand the facility. At its completion in May 2005, the plant’s annual production capacity stands at 160,000 vehicles, with a total investment of around $1 billion. Joining the M-Class and R-Class, the GL-Class is the third model line to be built in Tuscaloosa.
About Mercedes-Benz Canada
Mercedes-Benz Canada is responsible for the sales, marketing and service of the three brands within the Mercedes Car Group in Canada; Mercedes-Benz, smart, and Maybach. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Mercedes-Benz Canada employs approximately 900 people in 22 locations across Canada. Through a nationwide network of 18 Mercedes-Benz owned retail operations and 35 authorized dealerships, Mercedes-Benz Canada sold 15,790 vehicles in 2005, the best year ever reported for Mercedes-Benz Canada Inc.
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